Pan Seared Scallops

15 March 2013

pan seared scallops
Pan Seared Scallops

Very simple meal.  And it's done in no time too.  Just like the restaurant and at a fraction of the cost.  Here's the secret.

Ever wondered why you could try to duplicate pan-seared scallops at home but the never came out quite like the restaurant?  There's two secrets.

First secret is clarified butter.  The second is you leave the pan on a high heat and do NOT move the scallops around and not crowding the pan.  

There are several good tutorials on making clarified butter on line.  Here's a good video on one from

It's best here to use a non-stick pan, and I'd recommend the newer ceramic-based coatings because they can take high heat where Teflon cannot.

Pan Seared Scallops

  • 8 oz sea scallops
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs clarified butter
  • coarse sea salt

Soak scallops in a bowl of cold water for about 5 minutes.  This gets rid of the milky preservative that is usually used.  Drain and dry scallops very well.  Sprinkle with coarse salt.

Heat non-stick pan, and the larger the better.  For 8 oz scallops, I recommend at least a 10-inch if not 12-inch skillet.  Add olive oil and clarified butter over medium to high heat until the oil/butter just begins to smoke.  

Add the scallops, salt side down, with plenty of room between each scallop. DO NOT MOVE THE SCALLOPS.  Let scallops sear for about 3-5 minutes or until you can see a nice deep golden brown around the bottom edges.  

At this point, you may lift them with tongs to see how well they have seared.  If they are nicely seared, turn and cook for about HALF the time.  Scallops should be slightly underdone, and you should see a translucent band in the center; they continue cooking after they are removed from the heat and the key here is not to overcook them.  They should feel slightly spongy to the touch.

Plate and serve drizzling with the oil/butter that remained in the pan.

Makes 2 servings.

pan seared scallops
Pan Seared Scallops

Pan seared scallops
Pan Seared Scallops


Paige Flamm said...

These scallops look delicious!


Sara said...

Hi Judith -- I applaud the idea of creating a safer home, and there's so much misinformation out there about the Teflon® brand, so I'm not surprised that you are concerned. I'm a representative of DuPont and hope you'll let me share some information with you and your readers so that everyone can make truly informed decisions about your cookware.

In repeated tests, cookware with DuPont™ Teflon® nonstick coatings proved to be more durable and continued to offer superior nonstick food release, outlasting “ceramic” coatings seven-to-one.

And, with Teflon® nonstick coatings, consumers can save money by less frequently replacing worn out ceramic cookware. Environmentally, this can also mean less discarded cookware and its packaging destined for landfills, as well as less energy used in cookware manufacture.

Consumers should be highly skeptical of marketing claims that suggest “ceramic” coatings are somehow “healthier,” “greener” or more “natural” than Teflon® nonstick coatings. Both Teflon® nonstick coatings and “ceramics” start from minerals that are used to create synthetic coatings.

Global regulatory agencies have affirmed that nonstick coatings made with PTFE are safe for their intended use in cookware. Teflon® nonstick coatings for cookware and bakeware are based on PTFE and are safe for their intended use.

For more information, please visit

I appreciate your consideration of this comment. Cheers, Sara.

Judith Hannemann said...

Hi Sara, thank you for the information you supplied to my readers.

Reason I suggested ceramic here was because as I understand from the use and care guides that come with Teflon pans that they cannot be used above a "medium" heat setting. Since the pan must get hotter than 500 F for this, and that, I understand, is above the temperature threshold for Teflon, thus the suggestion of ceramic which can take higher heats.

As far as non-stick, I do find that better-quality Teflon pans are more durable than ceramic--which to me was a huge disappointment--and I have them purely for cooking eggs an omelettes as I find them useful. However, I am a very environmentally conscious person so my choice in cookware is and always will be good-quality stainless, since that can be used for a lifetime.

Thank you again for the info you provided.

Carole said...

Judy, perfection on a plate. Thanks for adding to the scallop collection. Cheers

Judith Hannemann said...

Thanks Carole--I keep forgetting it's already late Friday where you are!!! Still Thursday here....


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